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Green Magpie


Latest posts by Green Magpie

what base is best for a compost bin

Posted: 21/07/2012 at 13:22

I have a dalek-type bin set on gravel, and a big timber composter on bare ground. The dalek always has plenty of worms (as well as ants and woodlice) - I have no idea how they get there - while there are very few in the big composter. I did notice it was a a lot wormier in wet weather, so perhaps it's too dry there for them some of the time. Now and again I see mouse or rat-holes in the big heap, but they could get in from the top or the sides, I can't prevent it.

But they both produce good compost, and there doesn't seem to be a vermin problem.

Potato blight soil

Posted: 21/07/2012 at 12:56

Getting rid of the soil is a bit extreme. In most garden circumstances, the soil is part of the garden and is not normally removed. Sensible crop rotation should keep further crops from being infected by the soil.

But that is only if it's soil-borne in the first place. Blight spores are  normally brought in on the wind, in warm damp conditions. Even spore-free soil can't protect from that. The evidence on it remaining active in the soil seems a bit scant, and it's perfectly OK to use the soil for unrelated crops or for ornamental plants.

And for what it's worth, I accidentally planted tomatoes in a bed that had blighted potatoes in it last year. I have sprayed them twice with Bordeaux Mixture, and there's very little sign of blight yet despite the weather - less than in previous years when I was careful to rotate the crops. This year's potatoes, which are in blight-free soil, are a bit of a disaster, as they were very slow to grow, and the blight stopped them in their tracks before there were many potatoes.

Weekend weather.

Posted: 17/07/2012 at 12:12

Oh, I hope, hope, hope this is right!  We are looking after the grandkids for part of next week, and it would be just fantastic if we could go to the beach rather than seeking our wet-weather attractions (which will be crowded and expensive).

It's already quite dry and bright here and I am heading garden-wards shortly. There is so much to catch up on ...

 

Bye bye Clematis Cassis

Posted: 15/07/2012 at 19:04

I think it's less likely to affect tough types like Montana. I have a clematis Jackmanii that did this last year - it flowered in May and promptly died back. I cut it right down close to the ground, and new growth appeared quite soon. By September it was back up to the top of the fence and flowering again, so we got twice the flowering from it. This year it's been fine, flowering for the last month or more.

What's loving all this rain?

Posted: 14/07/2012 at 18:25

Our lavenders are looking great, and the climbing hydrangea looks the best it's ever done - it's growing in gravel against a wall, and we clearly haven't been watering it enough. We have several little conifers growing in planters, and they're putting on more new growth than usual (again, showing us they were thirsty). A huge viburnum has put on masses of new leaf. Buddleias look happy, and honeysuckle flowers are bursting out the top of a huge holly bush in a hedge.  Gooseberries amd raspberries are prolific. The lawn is green, if soggy. A couple of our apple trees are cropping well, while others are not. Nettles flourish everywhere, which must be good for some butterflies etc.

I will not list the miserable plants and failed crops that are not responding well to the rain, it's all too sad. But it's good to remind ourselves that some plants are having a great summer!

a very miserable lady.

Posted: 14/07/2012 at 18:16

I've had my wobbly moments in these last few weeks - I went to dig some potatoes the toher day nd was almost in tears when I found how few there were. The French beans and tomatoes and courgettes are not yet a disaster but are way behind. I've put in so much work and by April I was feeling really confident about the garden, it all looked so good. My husband keeps bees and will probably get no honey this year. Like so many others, we're very disappointed at what the weather has (or hasn't) done.

But: my raspberries, rhubarb and gooseberries are great, my mangetout have been good, and my broad beans not quite the total failure I expected when I saw the extent of the chocolate spot on them. The lavenders and climbing hydrangea look better than they ever have, and so does the lawn (at least until you walk on it).

I've never known a season like this, so hopefully it will be better again next year. We may still see some reasonable weather before the summer is out. Yesterday, when I'd cleared a space where some of my pathetic potatoes were, I was optimistic enough to put in a few more seeds ( dwarf French beans and wild rocket). Gardening is all aobut the long term, and I'm trying not to get too daunted at all the failures of the last couple of months.

One more reason to be cheerful - there's no hosepipe ban!

A few random questions :)

Posted: 14/07/2012 at 08:45

Yes, Dove, I know what you mean - too much time spend indoors wiaitng for the rain to stop, with a comforting cup of coffee and a choccy bicuit, when we should be out there grafting!

 

A few random questions :)

Posted: 13/07/2012 at 18:29

Re the tomatoes: I don't do greenhouse tomatoes so I can't help much here. My outdoor ones have some flowers and a very few tiny tomatoes. I think they didn't get pollinated enough at the relevant time, so I am trying to help by using a tiny paintbrush to spread pollen. Are your tomatoes cordon or bush types? If you don't know, tell us the variety. Cordons need the sideshoots picking out regularly, while bush tomatoes don't. I can't think why they'd be leggy if they're getting enough light. You can nip the tops eventually, but you're not supposed to do this until there are several trusses of tomatoes formed.

I have just put a few spare French bean seeds in - I've done this before in July and got a small crop from them. This year is so crazy, the plants don't know what month it is anyway. It may be a bit late for peas though.

Keep asking, that's not a problem - we're not out in our gardens as much as we'd like, so we have some time on our hands!

A few random questions :)

Posted: 13/07/2012 at 10:21

Just a general comment, Loz : this year is really dreadful for fruit and veg, so try not to be disheartened if a lot of things go wrong. I've had hugely disappointing potato crops, my strawberries are rotting, and I am seriously wondering whether there will ever be enough warmth to produce any tomatoes or beans. So even if it seems a struggle, it will get better next year (it must do, mustn't it?).

Raspberries aren't really meant to crop much the first summer - in fact I think you're meant to remove any flowers or fruit to let the canes keep their strength, but it takes a lof of willpower to do that. The autumn ones might produce some fruit this year, but if not, don't worry as long as all your canes are live, they'll be better established next year. If they are dead, get some new ones in in the late autumn. I've had a very good crop of summer rasps this year (pretty much the only good crop of anything so far), but my canes are several years old.

Quince

Posted: 12/07/2012 at 13:52

Ahmadmirza: I really don't know about pruning the branches. I think you'd ned to cut off quite a lot to make the branch stronger, and you might just cut off the bits that were supposed to flower, and leave the bits that weren't. This is just a guess, I don't know. I don't think this year's  crop is going to put much strain on the branches!

Discussions started by Green Magpie

Leaking squash, help!

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Moths and lavender

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Drama in the compost heap

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Tomato thriving on neglect!

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Secateurs open?

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Lobelia for wedding at end of May

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Flatworms?

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Runners on new strawberry plants

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Nettles for butterflies

 
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What not to grow

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Photinia Red Robin pruning?

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Searching the site?

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Last Post: 04/02/2014 at 15:30
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